The Man from Beijing

Henning Mankell’s The Man from Beijing tells about how revenge can be served super cold. A whole town is massacred in a brutal way with no leads and little evidence. A judge from further south, Birgitta Roslin, realizes that her mother’s foster parents were among the dead. After putting on leave from work due to a medical condition, Birgitta investigates on her own, even traveling with a friend to Beijing to follow up on her leads. The Swedish police aren’t interested in hearing her theories, but someone in China seems to taking her as a threat.

This was an exciting, multiple country story of revenge.

Read March 2019


Jorn Lier Horst’s Dregs finds Police Inspector William Wisting investigating left feet that wash up on the shores. Several people went missing months ago, some connected to each other, some not, and Wisting needs to find the connections.

The story behind the murders is decades old and shows the patience and treachery people can be capable of.

Slow read.

Read July 2018

Bury Your Dead

Bury Your Dead is one of Louise Penny’s best Chief Inspector Gamache mysteries. It resolved a wrongful conviction from The Brutal Telling, tells some history of Quebec City’s founding, a current murder in the small community of English speakers that remain in Quebec City, and the results of a police raid that left the Chief Inspector as well as Inspector Beauvoir are seriously injured.

So many great stories within this novel. Each told as if it was the most important. And so much in this novel sets up future story lines. Fantastic read!

Read September 2016.

A Grave in the Cotswolds

A natural undertaker agrees to bury a woman in the middle of a field in the Cotswolds. In A Grave in the Cotswolds, Rebecca Tope tells the tale of this small village and the uproar caused by the burial. Afterwards a local councilman is murdered and the undertaker fits the bill for the murdered.

This is a very quaint story about a busybody, house sitter Thea Osborne, and the undertaker Drew Slocombe, team up to find the real murdered before Drew is arrested.

This was a quick, easy, whimsical read. No overwhelming social injustices as play, just an old fashioned murder.

Read August 2016

Fly Away Home

I’ve been mostly drawn to horror books lately. Maybe its the weather and the season. But this is the second Jennifer Weiner book I’ve read in the last two months, which must mean something. I think there’s something very personal and inviting in her novels, and Fly Away Home is no exception.

In this novel, the Woodruff family’s three women take turns telling their stories. The matriarch, Sylvie, has been the perfect politician’s wife for the past couple of decades. Her oldest daughter, Diana, has worked her whole life to be the perfect daughter and now is a successful doctor who is married with a son. Lizzie, the youngest, who has not fared as well and comes up short in the perfection department, has recently been released from rehab. With all the perfection in the family working hard for Senator Richard Woodruff, there’s not a lot of time for real emotion and love to be expressed.

It isn’t until Richard’s extramarital affair makes the news, that the perfect family has to struggle with the damage that perfection has caused. Finally free from the restrictions of her life, Sylvie hides at her Connecticut beach house and rediscovers parts of her that have been hidden behind the perfect facade. Diana, who is also having an extramarital affair, realizes that the appearance of a perfect marriage is far from her reality. She played it safe and is now seeking the passion that she missed out on. Lizzie is struggling with her black-sheet stigma and is trying to create a life for herself where she doesn’t have to hide behind her drugs. All three are seeking their true selves and once they start they can begin mending the family bonds that haven’t existed and all have missed.

Again, Weiner’s ability to capture her characters emotions and translate them to paper enchants me. There’s a lot of psychological messes that the characters struggle through so they can begin their lives again. This was an easy book to like and to read. I feel like I really know the characters when I finished. To me, thats a great way to end a book.

Read October 2014.

A Murder in Tuscany

I’m a little backlogged documenting books, so I’m not going to spend much time rethinking about this one. A Murder in Tuscany by Christobel Kent was ok. It wasn’t very compelling to read, and I came across more than a couple of typos. Maybe theres a difference between British English and America English, who knows? Its been over a month since I read this so I can’t pinpoint any specifics.

The story was ok, nothing exciting. It had the typical old, worn out detective. In this case, he was dismissed from the police and now worked as a private detective. There was a very young, socially questionable, female assistant with a moped and computer skills. (Sound familiar?) The setting in the Tuscan countryside, one of my favorites, was not enough to pull this book together for me.

Again, I read this over a month ago and I still cannot think of anything good. It was an ok book. Not recommended.

Read May 2014.

take a chance on me

take a chance on me is a cute story about an English girl living in her childhood village and having a great time with her new boyfriend. Her high-school nemesis moves back home after his father died and Cleo Quinn and Johnny LaVenture can’t seem to escape each other in such a small town especially after the wonderful boyfriend reveals his true colors. Cleo’s life may be difficult but its nothing compared to her sister Abbie and her husband Tom. Their world is torn apart by a secret from the past.

Jill Mansell really paints a beautiful picture of small town life and whats it like when you cannot escape the rumors and spies around every corner. Mansell also twisted two separate stories of the sisters into one narrative which made it more interesting than a simple love story.

Overall, I enjoyed the read. Its uncomplicated and light hearted, with a nice happy ending.

Read February 2014